Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying: Argentina 3 – 0 Venezuela (video)

Friday night saw the Argentine national team return to Buenos Aires for the first time since last June, and yet another comfortable win for Alejandro Sabella’s side. Two goals from Gonzalo Higuaín – both brilliantly set up by Lionel Messi, even if his second (Argentina’s third) was fractionally offside – and one from Messi from the penalty spot gave Argentina a 3-0 win which cements their place at the top of the South American qualifiers. More importantly, they now sit nine points clear of fifth-placed Chile, so with six games to play have taken a big step towards securing qualification for Brazil 2014. The goals are right here.

Argentina 1 – 0 Venezuela: Gonzalo Higuaín (28 mins)

Argentina 2 – 0 Venezuela: Lionel Messi (44 mins)

Argentina 3 – 0 Venezuela: Higuaín (58 mins)

Elsewhere in South America, results generally favoured Argentina as well. Uruguay and Paraguay, the finalists in the last Copa América, continued to flatter to deceive, drawing 1-1 with both goals coming in added time; Colombia thrashed Bolivia 5-0, and Peru beat Chile 1-0 with a Jefferson Farfán goal in the clásico del pacífico. That Peru win, bizarrely, apparently means Jorge Samapoli has still never won in his first match in charge of a team; Chile are the ninth team he’s managed. (Note: I saw this stat online on Friday afternoon and can’t remember the source, so it might be bollocks.)

These results mean Argentina have 23 points from ten games, Colombia have 19 from nine games, Ecuador have 17 from nine games, and everyone else has played ten, like the leaders; Uruguay have 13 points, Chile and Venezuela 12 each, Peru 11, and Bolivia and Paraguay 8 each. Don’t forget, the top four qualify for the World Cup automatically, whilst fifth place enters a playoff. In short, anyone can still make it.

In the next round of matches, on Tuesday, Argentina visit Bolivia. The other matches are Ecuador v Paraguay, Chile v Uruguay and Venezuela v Colombia.

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About hastaelgolsiempre

Sam Kelly is an English football writer based in Buenos Aires, specialising in all things Argentina - the national team and the domestic league - as well as across South America for When Saturday Comes, ESPNFC, The Blizard, Howler, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and In Bed With Maradona among others. If you think you can afford him (and you probably can), please feel free to get in touch via the contact page of this blog.
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4 Responses to Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying: Argentina 3 – 0 Venezuela (video)

  1. Johnny says:

    There are rumors that Leonardo Ponzio will get on the pitch for Argentina’s match against Bolivia. Is he up to it ? Isn’t he a number 5 ? Fill me in please. Cheers !

    • He’s been playing more like an 8 (box-to-box midfielder) so far this season for River Plate, really, so could work well alongside Mascherano in midfield (Gago is out injured for this one). Sabella looks like he’s going to change to a 5-3-2/3-5-2 for the Bolivia game, to get men in the middle and hopefully counteract the effects of altitude as much as possible, to which end a few changes are likely from the Venezuela match, apart from Higuaín (who’s suspended for Bolivia) and the possible return of Di María (who was suspended against Venezuela). And yes, Ponzio is in line to be one of the men coming in, if the training sessions so far are anything to go on.

  2. Johnny says:

    Sam-what’s your opinion of Ponzio as a player ? You must know him well.

    • A bit surprised to see him involved in the national team given some of the other names left out (but that’s true of lots of players where Argentina are concerned), but he’s been in fine form for River this season and is arguably one of the reasons (returning players who aren’t at the very very end of their tethers, and who still mean business) that the league’s taken a bit of an upward turn over the last six months or so, and especially in 2013. He’s not Fernando Gago, sure, but I don’t think it harms Argentina having him involved. And I suspect it’s not a coincidence that he’s been called up with the Bolivia game in mind; he was involved for Argentina the last time they won away in La Paz, in 2005.

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